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Project Info ACTIVE Project Title

Small Medium Business HPWH Emergency Deployments

Project Number ET24SWE0017 Organization SWE (Statewide Electric ETP) End-use Water Heating/DHW/HPWH Sector Commercial Project Year(s) N/A - 2025
120-volt plug-in heat pump water heaters (HPWHs) are a proven, market-ready technology offering significant decarbonization potential as emergency replacements in the small medium business market. It is estimated that 90% of water heating replacements occur on an emergency basis. Without an easy, fast and affordable replacement solution, small and medium-sized business owners are likely to opt for replacement with gas/propane water heaters. A low-power design can plug into existing wall outlets without expensive electrical panel upgrades and/or rewiring often required for gas WH replacements. The recent California-wide field study observed an average monthly energy consumption savings of approximately 85% in comparison to the pre-existing gas/propane water heater when normalized to kWh. 120-volt HPWH retrofits will allow space and power constrained small and medium-sized businesses to help CA meet its’ 6 million heat pump installation goals.    This project objective is to assess and validate the applicability of plug-in HPWHs to small medium businesses with failing (or failed) water heaters. The approach is to evaluate small medium business hot water demand/draw profiles, understand whether plug-in HPWH capabilities can meet immediate business needs, and validate plug-in HPWH technology as an emergency replacement.     Fuel-switching from gas water heating to a HPWH often triggers expensive and time-consuming electrical upgrades, including panel upgrades and rewiring when the business site infrastructure is not configured to accommodate a new 240V appliance. These upgrades can add thousands of dollars to retrofit costs and the time and expense required pose significant barriers to fuel-switching, especially when a customer is seeking an emergency water heater replacement. Plug-in 120V HPWH technology allows for the usage of existing wall outlets rather than requiring expensive electrical upgrades. TRC will perform a baseline site selection criteria study to finalize couple of high impact businesses that will be targeted. Based on the market study findings, we will identify viable sites/business types and install up to 10 plug-in HPWHs in small to medium business applications. The project will collect installation cost data and conduct surveys on customer and installer satisfaction with the new water heating equipment.  This field study will evaluate the viability of plug-in HPWHs as emergency replacements for the small medium business market. Lessons learned from this project can advance commercialization of this technology and provide program design data points for CalTF and IOUs, contributing to addition of the measure in existing TRMs, and allowing faster deployment and scaling. 
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  • Southern California Edison Company logo
  • Southern California Gas Company logo
  • San Diego Gas & Electric Company logo
  • Sacramento Municipal Utility District logo
  • Los Angeles Department of Water and Power logo
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The ETCC is funded in part by ratepayer dollars and the California Statewide Emerging Technologies Program under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission. The municipal portion of this program is funded and administered by Sacramento Municipal Utility District and Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.